Every year, traditionally held on the days July 6, 7, 8, is the Iriya Asagao Ichi (Iriya Morning Glory Fair). Many vendors sell small pots of Japanese morning glory varieties located near the Iriya Kishimojin Temple in Ueno, in the Tokyo area. Wouldn't it be great if Japan was more accessible so we could all go to see this event in person? Here is an excellent photograph web site to see more images of the fair from 2009: http://muza-chan.net/japan/index.php/blog/iriya-asagao-ichi-...
I have a book I am reading about life in Tokyo during the Meiji Period, titled Low City, High City, written by Edward Seidensticker. In this book (page 130), he describes the continued interest in various types of plants, including morning glory. The craze over asagao continued from the Edo Period; he writes the following which gives information about one reason why the Iriya Asagao Fair is held where it is (I suspect due to the readily available highly fertile rice paddy soil used for grow the JMGs in those early years):
"In high summer came morning glories, lotuses and irises. The Meiji emperor's own favorite iris garden, on the grounds of what is now the Meiji Shrine, was opened to the public a few years after his death. The morning glory has long had a most particular place in the life of the Low City. It was the omnipresent sign of summer, in all the tiny garden plots and along the plebeian lanes, a favorite subject, as principal and as background, in the popular art of Edo. The place to go for Meiji morning glories was Iriya, to the east of Ueno Park. It still is the place to go, but it has suffered vicissitudes in the century since its morning glories first came into prominence. In early Meiji, Iriya was still paddy land, and among the paddies were extensive nurseries. One looked across them to the Yoshiwara, the great houses which kept villas in the district. The last of the nurseries left Iriya, no longer on the outskirts of the city, in 1912, and so too, of course, did excursions for viewing and purchasing morning glories. They have returned in the last quarter of a century. For the morning-glory fair in early July, however, the plants must be brought in from what are now the northern outskirts of the city."
Everything related to Morning Glories i.e., photos, identification, growing info & anything else you can think of...
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